Sometimes the small things bring the memories flooding back.
The superstitions, oh how many there were. The heads-up pennies, more than 40 of them still kept for safekeeping.
The team songs, “The River” by Garth Brooks and “Neon Moon” by Brooks and Dunn.
Tuesday night a historic group of former Rocky Mountain High School athletes gathered at their former school, watched a slideshow and flipped through scrapbooks.
Mostly they talked, recalling memories of the special seasons. In 1995 the Rocky Mountain volleyball team went 30-1, winning the first team state title for the school that opened in 1973. In 1999 the Lobos won a second volleyball title.
And Tuesday they came back together. Some have families now, others are coaches (1995 state tournament MVP Brook Coulter is an assistant at CSU), many still live in Fort Collins. A group of more than a dozen from the two title-winning teams were honored between sets as the 2015 team swept Mountain Range to move to 11-2 overall.
“I had forgotten what a family that team was from the parents, the players,” said Carla (Vandenbark) Bornhoft, a member of the 1995 team. “I feel like tonight we’re missing the players that couldn’t make it. Coming back made me remember how close we were.”
They all had vivid memories of their championship seasons. The 1995 team talked about how blinding the lights were at the Denver Coliseum for the title game and how they had the strength of the entire school behind them.
“We had so many fans. The football team was like our best supporters,” (Vandenbark) Bornhoft said. “I didn’t feel like it was we won. I felt like it was a school win. We had so many supporters.”
The 1999 team recalled how it “bombed” the first set in the title game against Cherry Creek. A rotation change led to the title that seemed destined long before the first match.
“I think we created our own pressure,” Amanda (Huddleston) Miller recalled. “I knew from the beginning of that season and all through the summer camps, it was all about we were going to win.”
After the 2015 team finished its match the current high schools spent time with the championship winners, sharing knowledge and memories that won’t soon be forgotten.
Apart from winning the first two team titles in school history at Rocky Mountain, they remain the only volleyball state titles won by Fort Collins schools.
“I don’t think they realized — and maybe they still don’t realize — that the milestone they achieved was huge,” said their coach, Jo (Turman) Locricchio.
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.